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Butch Cassidy: I couldn't do that. Could you do that? Why can they do it? Who are those guys?
Who are those guys, indeed!  We all know the story of the skewed redistricting in states controlled by Republicans after the 2010 election, but I wanted to look more in depth where the Republicans had the largest effect.  Much like the posse chasing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you had to marvel (or cringe in our case) at how they "could do that" in such blue states as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and to a lesser extent in swing states that voted Democratic in 2008 and 2012 like Ohio, Florida and Virginia.

A few months ago, I wrote a diary that looked at the Partisan Voter Index (PVI) and noted the relatively bleak prospects of Democratic pickups in 2014 due to redistricting.  
My Daily Kos diary  Some complained that it was a little too hard to understand, so I'll try to make this one a little less "inside baseball".  My previous diary noted the limited amount of races where Democrats could win a Republican held seat.  With this diary, however, I'd like to highlight the positives for Democrats.

First, 2010 was and will probably be the high water mark for Republicans for the foreseeable future.  Why?  Well, their majority is contingent on their redistricting in the blue rust belt states.  They can not continue to hold both state houses and governorships in those states for very long.  Secondly, the 2020 election will be a presidential year and Democrats will not be staying home in that election especially in the blue states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Those elections will not only determine the presidency but who will control the redistricting process in those states.

In looking at the election results of 2008, 2010 and 2012, I tried to look at where redistricting helped the Republicans the most.  I did this by looking at how each state conducts its redistricting and where the Republican's controlled the entire redistricting process.  I looked at how many "competitive" districts there were in each state and what states failed to reflect their presidential voting in Congressional races.  I also looked at how many "competitive" seats were held by Republicans compared to Democrats.

Follow me below the orange curls for a look at some of the possible good news for Democrats following redistricting.

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Following up on the David Nir's diary of the presidential results by congressional district, I decided to look at what the prospects of Democrats regaining the majority in the House of Representatives.  The link to David's post is below.

Presidential results by congressional district

The way I went about it was first to look at what the new PVIs were for each of these districts.  The PVIs online were still ones based on the 2004 and 2008 results that gave us the PVI for the 2012 races, but now thanks to David's work, we had the vast majority of presidential results by congressional district data (There are still some selected districts, mostly in the Northeast, that we have no presidential number yet).  I plugged in those results and now computed the PVI with just the 2008 and 2012 results.  Since the PVI is computed by comparing the presidential results in the congressional district vs. the results in the nation as whole, I didn't think that gave as detailed a comparison as I would have liked.  I, therefore, computed a "statewide PVI" that compared the presidential results in the congressional district vs. the results in that state as a whole.

For example, if we look at a congressional district that voted for Romney 55-45, the standard PVI would be about R+7 (the difference between 52-47 Obama and 55-45 Romney).  But if we then factor in the state that the congressional district is in, we can compare how Republican or Democratic that district is in that state.  So, if we look at a 55-45 result in a Utah congressional district (by the way, no Utah congressional district was even close to a 55-45 split) where Romney won the state as a whole by 73%-25%, it is as friendly a Democratic district as you'll find, where as that same 55-45 result in a state like California where Obama carried it by 60-37, is a Republican vote sink.  

This "statewide PVI" was determined by taking the standard PVI and subtracting the "lean" of the state.  Again, if we take Utah as an example and start with the R+7, which equals -7 (7 points below the Obama/Romney nationwide result) and subtract the statewide "lean" of -26 (Utah was 26 points more in favor of Romney than the nation), we get -7-(-26).  If we remember our math from school, subtracting a negative makes a positive so it becomes -7+26 which equals +19.  Anything with a positive number is Democratic, negative number is Republican.  So, our "statewide PVI" in this hypothetical case is D+19 as that district would be 19 points more Democratic than the state as whole.

Follow me below the "squiggles" for a look at what the 435 congressional districts look like with both PVI and statewide PVI and if it can tell us anything about the possible Republican held districts that can be retaken by Democrats.

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With the Presidential election now complete and Obama's margin of victory in Wisconsin nearly the same as Walker's recall victory just 5 months earlier, I began to wonder.  How could a state that voted back one of the most regressive, reactionary governors just 5 months earlier switch around and re-elect Barack Obama?  Although, truth be told, the exit polls of the recall race noted that those same voters supported Obama over Romney as well.

So, was this generally the same electorate that voted during the recall race?  Yes and no.  It was in the respect that the exit polls from the recall election in June had Obama favored over Romney by seven points (51-44). It turned out that was roughly the same margin that Obama prevailed over Romney last Tuesday (53-46).  

http://abcnews.go.com/...

But alternatively it wasn't the same electorate.  The turnout in the presidential election was significantly higher than the recall election, from just about 2.5 million to 3+ million, over a 20% increase.  Additionally, the increase in turnout was almost exclusively with Democratic voters.  Over 80% of the over 500,000 additional voters were increases between Barrett's vote and Obama's vote.  Think about that, 4 out of every 5 new voter in Wisconsin was an Obama voter.

Follow me below the orange squiggly for a more in depth look at the numbers.

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Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 08:58 PM PDT

I early voted today

by minvis

in my small suburb north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It's a small (about 13,000 people), but strongly Democratic suburb (roughly a 2-1 Democratic advantage) in every election.  Turnout here is generally pretty high (it was over 80% in 2008), but it was still a surprise when I walked in at around 10 a.m. on a Thursday and saw several people voting early and at least 5 or 6 others including myself waiting to vote.  The staff there was pleasant and helpful explaining the process and it took me no more that 2 or 3 minutes to complete the ballot, put it in the absentee ballot envelope, sign it and put it in the bin.  

After voting, however, I felt the need to do something more.  Follow me below the orange Wisconsin cheese curd for my afternoon activity.

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Yesterday, I submitted my Chicago ward remap, but it only included information about the North Side wards.  http://www.dailykos.com/...  Today, I wanted to finish the write-up of my map with information about the South Side wards.  Follow me below the orange squiggle for details

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Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 09:34 PM PST

Chicago Ward Redistricting

by minvis

Here is my entry in the Chicago ward remap contest.  First, a little background on me.  I'm presently living in Wisconsin where I moved a year and a half ago.  Previously, though, I lived in the city of Chicago for 18 years and in nearby Skokie for 3 more years.  I was very involved in local politics there so I am acutely aware of the political dynamics of the city including its ward remap process every decade.  Unfortunately, I never had a mayor not named Daley in those 18 years so my perspective is probably very much colored by that fact.  I was no fan of the machine politics of the city and was glad to see so many new alderman (relatively for Chicago) elected in this last election.  

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Well, if any of us here in Wisconsin needed any more motivation on why Scott Walker must go, the preliminary November jobs numbers certainly solidify one of the many reasons why he is not fit to serve.

http://www.jsonline.com/...

You're reading that right.  Another 11,700 private sector jobs were lost and nearly 3,000 public sector jobs as well in November, 14,600 to be exact.  Not only was this a bad month for job losses in Wisconsin, but also for...

July
http://www.jsonline.com/...

August
http://www.jsonline.com/...

September
http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/...

October
http://www.weau.com/...

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Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 09:18 AM PST

Shopping for Recall Signatures

by minvis

Black Friday was certainly a black day for Governor Walker as the recall drive continued.  I along with my 13 year old son met up with 3 other volunteers outside the Bayshore Mal lin the mid afternoon yesterday.  Bayshore is located in Milwaukee's north shore suburbs and as their website attests:

Bayshore is located in the most affluent area of Milwaukee and the entire state of Wisconsin.  The North Shore of Milwaukee’s 100,000 households boast an average income over $100,000. 15 million people visit the center annually.

Of course the Wisconsin GOP cried foul that recall petition gatherers were bothering shoppers, but our experience was anything but.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

Follow me below the squiggly orange lines for our experience yesterday.

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This is just a short follow-up to my diary from Monday.  

http://www.dailykos.com/...

I'm still pretty tired from volunteering yesterday but I wanted to see where we did well in Senate district 8 and where Darling did well to help her retain her seat.  First, the short version of my previous diary is that if we used the 2008 numbers as the baseline, what would happen if turnout percentage was higher in the Milwaukee county wards compared to the Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha county wards compared to 2008.  I listed a scenario that if the turnout percentage was higher by just a little bit compared to the other counties and if the percentage vote in each of those counties was the same as 2008, we could win.

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Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 01:28 PM PDT

WI - SD8: A path to victory

by minvis

I am a relative newcomer to Wisconsin and Senate District 8.  I moved here last summer from the Chicago area where I was very involved with DFA canvassing door to door for not only Obama but several congressional candidates and other local candidates.  I knew that I would get involved politically here as well, but I had no idea it would entail being in the epicenter of a grassroots movement that was fighting back against the dismantlement of the middle class.  And now it looks like my state senate district may even become ground zero in this recall election.  Most of us have seen the polls in this district ranging from a 1 point Pasch lead to a 5 point Darling lead.  It's close, mighty close and GOTV for both sides is critical.  To see how close, let's look at some of the numbers.

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Most of us by now know the horror that is the 'Fitzwalkerstan', but what has not been talked about since the 2010 elections here in Wisconsin is how the Republican led legislature is now in charge of redistricting.  Remember that only 3 years ago, Wisconsin gave Obama a double digit victory here, had a Democratic governor, a Democratic majority in the state senate and narrow deficit in the state house.  Fast forward to 2010-11 and we have a Republican governor and Republicans in charge of both the senate and house.  Presently the Congressional delegation is split 5-3 Republican, but has been 5-3 Democratic or 4-4 in recent years.  What if the Democrats had won again in 2010 and were in charge of the redistricting process?  Well, this is my attempt through Dave's Redistricting App to perform the "what if".

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Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:19 PM PDT

Wisconsin State Senate Recall #5?

by minvis

Just got this via the Recall Darling facebook page.  Looks like they may be turning in their signatures.

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